NHL Gameday: Battle for First Place as Sharks Host Oilers

Programming note – Sharks-Oilers coverage starts today at 7:00 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on CSN California


Sharks: 20-12-1, 41 points, 1st Pacific Division
Oilers: 18-12-5, 41 points, 2nd Pacific Division


***It will be either the Sharks or Oilers in sole possession of first place at the Christmas break after Friday's meeting, as each team enters tied with 41 points (the Sharks have two games in hand). San Jose has won five of its last six overall, including 4-1 over the Flames on Tuesday at home, while the Oilers have captured their last three. Edmonton concludes a three-game road trip tonight that started with wins in St. Louis, and Arizona most recently on Wednesday.

***Tommy Wingels is the latest player that will come out of the lineup as a healthy scratch, as Joel Ward gets back in after sitting for the second time on Tuesday against Calgary. David Schlemko will be out for the second straight game in favor of Dylan DeMelo.

***Tonight is the first of five games between the Oilers and Sharks, with the next on Jan. 10 in Edmonton. It will be San Jose's first visit to the brand new Rogers Place.


Sharks: Joonas Donskoi. The Sharks forward has four points (2g, 2a) in three games since getting pulled from the lineup recently. He scored twice in less than two minutes on Tuesday against the Flames, doubling his output on the season to four. Donskoi admitted the benching did him some good, and he's feeling more energized since. It's shown.

Oilers: Connor McDavid. The 19-year-old could be on his way to capturing the Hart Trophy as league MVP in just his second season, and leads the NHL with 40 points (12g, 28a). Named as Edmonton's captain before the season, McDavid's 12 multi-point games this season tie him for first with Sidney Crosby. He's looking to end a six-game goal drought tonight.


Patrick Marleau – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Kevin Labanc – Logan Couture – Mikkel Boedker
Timo Meier – Chris Tierney – Joonas Donskoi
Melker Karlsson – Micheal Haley – Joel Ward

Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon – Dylan DeMelo

Martin Jones (starter)
Aaron Dell

Milan Lucic – Connor McDavid – Jordan Eberle
Patrick Maroon – Leon Draisaitl – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
Benoit Pouliot – Drake Caggiula – Jesse Puljujarvi
Matt Hendricks – Mark Letestu – Zack Kassian

Oscar Klefbom – Adam Larsson
Andrej Sekera – Kris Russell
Brandon Davidson – Eric Gryba

Cam Talbot
Jonas Gustavsson


Sharks: Tomas Hertl (right knee sprain) is out.

Oilers: Iiro Pakarinen (knee), Darnell Nurse (ankle surgery), Mark Fayne (groin) and Tyler Pitlick (lower body) are out.


"From seeing highlights, he's got a lot of speed. A lot of speed, a lot of skill. And he uses his speed anywhere. He outskates guys, skates past the fastest guys with his speed, and he can handle the puck at high speeds. Taking away his time and space is huge, [and so is] staying above him." – Marc-Edouard Vlasic, on how to defend Connor McDavid

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